Over the years I have photographed 812 diners. As I write this I see that number is ironic. It is ironic mainly because I wanted to show a series of Worcester Lunch Car built diners, No’s. 811 thru 819. All the diners in this group (except for one) represent the only example of diners known by any manufacturer to still exist enmasse as consecutive numbered output. These diners were delivered to their respective operating locations between June 1948 and March 1949. The exception to this is No. 817 which was only 20 years old in 1968 when it was sent to a scrap yard. All the others still exist and are currently operating as food establishments.
Shamrock Diner, WLC No. 811
The Shamrock Diner was delivered on June 15th, 1948 and is the first Worcester with the new flat overhangs over the end walls. These overhangs acted as a sort of canopy providing some cover for the side entrances. This diner is probably the most disguised of this group, having been made more into a roast beef sandwich and fried food place around 30 years ago. The counter stools have been removed although the counter is still there. It now has a raised section to utilize it as more of a serving counter. The ceiling has been dropped and the original booths are gone. Below is how it looked not long after it became the current establishment.
Miss Worcester Diner, WLC No. 812
The Miss Worcester is fairly original inside and out. The interior has generic booths (not original) and the outside porcelain panels have been repainted but other than that it is much the same as it was when it was moved across the street from the factory on June 14th, 1948.
Cape Ann Grill, WLC No. 813
The Cape Ann Grill was delivered to 214 Main St. in Gloucester, Mass. on June 8th, 1948. It replaced the slightly smaller WLC No. 800 which had been delivered the year before (March 28th, 1947). Apparently business was so good with the first diner that owners Henry Schluter and Augustus Mulrenin decided to upgrade immediately to a larger diner. According to reports they did not do as well with this larger one. Eventually it was bought by Roland Michel who operated it from 1952 to 1959. He sold the diner in 1959 and it was moved to its current location where it has continued to operate under a few different owners.
Blue Belle Diner, WLC No. 814
The Blue Belle Diner has spent all of its operating life in Worcester. It was delivered to its first location on 86 Chandler St., July of 1948. It reportedly moved to 47 Prescott St. in 1972 and operated there until 1998. It then made a series of moves to storage locations in Shrewsbury, Milford, Worcester and Princeton. Each time it landed, it was hoped to be put back into service but things never seemed to work out until May of 2009. That is when Bruce Trotto bought the diner and moved it to his “Dinky’s Restaurant” on Rte. 70, just over the Worcester town line in Shrewsbury. Look for a summer, 2010 opening for this diner.
Miss Toy Town Diner, WLC No. 815
The Miss Toy Town Diner according to the Worcester Lunch Car Co.car drawings book, was delivered to Winchendon, Mass. at the corner of Spring & Lake Sts. on April 4, 1949. This is either a mistake or it was held back at the factory for almost a year. No’s. 814 and 816 were delivered in 1948. Something of a mystery! Anyway it was moved from Winchendon to Gardner (various sources say this happened in 1954 but a new friend of mine who has the Gardner Nostalgia Facebook page informed me it was moved in 1964 and this sounds credible as he himself witnessed it) to replace the Blue Moon Coffee Shop & Grill, an earlier Worcester Lunch Car. In the late 1980′s owner Skip Scipione contracted with Richard Gutman to have 3 new porcelain steel panels made with the name “Blue Moon” emblazened on them. Denise & I actually had breakfast there this morning and had a pleasant visit with owner Jamie Floyd who is carrying on the diner tradition in this old mill town. Check out their website at…. http://www.bluemoondinergardnerma.com/
Akins Diner, WLC No. 816
Akins Diner (or Aikens) was delivered to its location on the Cranberry Highway in Wareham, Mass. on August 26th, 1948. It remained in Wareham until either the late 1950′s or the early 1960′s when it was moved to Worcester to become the 2nd Charlie’s Diner. It operated at 244 Plantation St. until forced to move in April of 2003. It has since reopened at a new location in Spencer, Mass. It will soon have a bar & grill attached to the right side of the entryway/kitchen.
Star Lite Diner, WLC No. 817
The Star Lite Diner was delivered to 383 Mystic Ave. in Medford, Mass. on November 9th, 1948. I used to patronize this place with my Dad and brothers in the mid-1960′s. They closed for their usual 2 week vacation in the summer of 1968 and never reopened. It was reportedly moved to a scrap yard in Chelsea shortly after the closing and to my knowledge did not survive. The Portside in Danvers is the closest diner (style-wise and set-up-wise) to the Star Lite.
Miss Portland Diner, WLC No. 818
The Miss Portland Diner was the first model to receive the modified overhang, basically continuing the roofline which curves down on the ends. It was delivered to its first location on Forest Ave., February 17th, 1949. It was later moved in 1964 to 49 Marginal Way where it operated until March of 2004 when the land it was on was sold for development. The diner was donated to the City of Portland whose mission was to find someone to buy the diner and relocate it down the street to city owned property . In 2007 Portland native Tom Manning stepped in and set the diner up on its new location and opened it October 31, 2008 at 140 Marginal Way. Check out their website at…. http://www.missportlanddiner.com/Home_Page.html
Wilson’s Diner, WLC No. 819
Wilson’s Diner has always operated at this location, 507 Main St. (U.S. Rte. 20) in Waltham, Mass. It is probably 97% original on the inside and 100% original on the outside. It was delivered on March 24th, 1949.
And now that I think about it, WLC No. 820, the Stadium Diner is gone but WLC No’s. 821 thru 828 are all still around as well, (Miss Adams, 821), (Carmen’s Diner, 822), (Miss Newport, 823), (Ann’s, 824), (the Bluebonnet Diner, 825), (Jigger’s, 826), (Peterboro, 827) and (the Miss Beverly Diner, 828). Carmen’s is completely gutted and operating as The Computer Exchange store on U.S. Rte. 1 in Attleboro, Mass. the Miss Newport is now the Miss Mendon in Mendon, Mass. and Ann’s is now Pat’s Diner and the Miss Beverly is heavily altered as a Subway now.